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City of Red Deer

Project ground-breaking brings confidence to downtown Red Deer and anchors community vision

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The City of Red Deer is proud to announce the groundbreaking of the first residential project as part of the Capstone redevelopment program and urban revitalization initiative.

The developer, High Rise Properties Inc., is poised to embark on a transformative journey, enriching the riverside community’s living experience with the construction of a five story, 62-unit residential development along Alexander Way, west of Carnival Cinemas.

The much-anticipated project, known as ALEX holds an estimated value of $20 million and will feature a diverse range of one and two bedroom options, with rent starting under $1,000 per month. This construction signifies a milestone in the ongoing efforts to rejuvenate the Capstone neighbourhood, converting the former City civic yards into a dynamic and sustainable community.

After promoting this opportunity to regional home builders and developers, High Rise Properties Inc. emerged as the ideal partner for this project. Red Deer’s Sorento Custom Homes – a custom home builder and partner of High Rise Properties Inc. – will act as the project manager and builder for the project.

“We are excited to be part of Red Deer’s future,” said Mark Macleod of Sorento Custom Homes. “High Rise Properties Inc. is focused on building, owning, and managing affordable, high quality multi-family assets and Capstone represents a great opportunity for Sorento to showcase our knowhow, service and craftmanship. Together with our project team, including Bettenson’s Sand & Gravel, Northside Construction and Eagle Builders, we are eager to get started today.”

The construction of ALEX contributes to The City’s vision for sustainable growth, downtown revitalization, and an improved quality of life for Red Deer residents. The development is designed to meet the diverse housing needs of the community, offering modern and comfortable living spaces while enhancing the overall appeal of the Capstone neighborhood.

“This is a great day for downtown Red Deer and a significant milestone for the Capstone community,” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “Downtown Red Deer, like most downtown centres, suffered during the pandemic and to see vibrancy and investment returning, gives me great confidence that we have turned the corner. We are proud to partner with High Rise Properties to bring this project to the market.”

The Capstone community vision establishes the neighbourhood as a destination urban, mixed-use, community of 5,000 residents. With significant retail and commercial offerings nearby, future residents will have their living needs conveniently met.

“For the past 24 months, we have been purposefully educating and engaging with Red Deerians, on the build-out and vision of this community,” said Cory Edinga, Capstone project manager. “Interest is high among future residents who foresee the benefits of living near recreational and cultural amenities, health services, and the soon-to-be expanded Red Deer Regional Hospital.”

With earthworks and servicing starting today, ALEX is expected to be ready for occupancy in 16 to 18 months.

About Capstone Redevelopment:

Imagined as a riverside community of 5,000 new residents, Capstone represents a new way of living in Red Deer. Nestled along the banks of the Red Deer River within walking distance to historic downtown and the Red Deer Regional Hospital, Capstone is a master planned, multi-family neighbourhood filled with new friends, new conveniences, and new energy.

About High Rise Properties Inc:

High Rise Properties Inc. is focused on creating innovative and sustainable urban developments. With a focus on quality craftsmanship and superb property management, High Rise Properties Inc. is committed to contributing to the growth and vitality of the cities it serves.

City of Red Deer

City introduces new phone number to report non-emergency mental health, addiction, or homeless issues

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New streamlined way to reach Red Deer’s Social Diversion Team

Since launching in 2021, the Social Diversion Team (SDT) has been responding to calls throughout Red Deer for individuals in need of non-emergency support, whether experiencing mental health struggles, addictions issues, or homelessness.

Beginning March 1, 2024, the community will need to call the non-emergency police line at 403-406-2200 to connect with the Social Diversion Team. This move from the previous 2-1-1 call line will improve the caller’s ability to quickly connect with a Police Communications Operator who can quickly determine the nature of the call and dispatch the appropriate resources in a timely and efficient manner.

“This change simplifies calling and dispatching the Social Diversion Team,” said Peter Puszka, Municipal Policing Services Superintendent. “Red Deerians now need to remember only one contact number for all non-emergency community safety concerns and our experienced, well-trained Police Communications Operators can assess the circumstances of the call, determine which resource is appropriate and dispatch accordingly.”

Though the Alberta 2-1-1 has been the dispatching service since the onset of the program, the move to internal dispatching will simplify the call-in process, removing barriers like pre-recorded messaging and on-hold wait times, improve internal communication between the dispatchers and the responding Social Diversion Team, and allow for operators with local community knowledge to provide enhanced response.

While the phone number has changed, all other elements of the program remain the same. The two-person Social Diversion Team consists of a Licensed Practical Nurse and a Social Diversion Specialist, who respond to reports of individuals in distress. The team connects clients with the social services they need, such as housing supports, mental health supports, detox programs and harm reduction resources.

“We are excited to continue providing individuals with the right response at the right time,” says Ryan Veldkamp, Social Wellness & Integration Supports Superintendent. “We know that not every call is an emergency call, and that’s why the Social Diversion Team is the right choice for these situations where individuals are in crisis. The team continues to allow our first responders to concentrate on responding to critical medical emergencies and criminal matters.”

In its three years of operation, the SDT has averaged a response rate of 185 events per month or approximately 6 calls a day. The teams use their specialized training to provide assessment, intervention and support to those in need.

Stephanie MacDonald, Outreach and Housing Services Manager for Safe Harbour Society said, “The Social Diversion Team is very excited for this change over and believes that this will allow for a more effective and timely response.”

While the SDT continues to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week, the 24/7 non-

emergency line will dispatch the SDT based on their availability, or utilize other policing and medical services when they are not.

To learn more about the Social Diversion Team, visit www.reddeer.ca/SDT.

When Should I call the Social Diversion Team?

If you see someone who is:

  • Experiencing a mental health or medical (non-emergency) crisis
  • Intoxicated or otherwise impaired
  • Requiring transport to appropriate services (i.e. a shelter)
  • Sleeping in an unsafe space and/or inappropriately dressed for the weather
  • Requiring social services (i.e. housing, nutrition, health or community supports)
  • Likely to come to harm without intervention

And the individual is not posing an immediate harm to themselves or others, call 403-406-2200

The team’s hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, the non-emergency (403-406-2200) line is operated 24/7. Outside of the Social Diversion team operating hours, callers will be provided with either a community referral, crisis intervention support, connected to 911, or offered a follow-up.

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Addictions

City Council decides to close Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site

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City Council requests the Province of Alberta make changes to OPS in Red Deer

City Council made decisions (Friday) related to Red Deer’s Overdose Prevention Site (OPS), requesting the Government of Alberta (GOA):

  • formalize an orderly transition of the existing OPS out of Red Deer by the end of 2025;
  • provide in its place greater harm reducing options within our community that focus on health, wellness, and recovery, including more detox capacity, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), recovery coaches, counsellors, and culturally appropriate health and wellness supports, etc.;
  • provide dedicated grant funding to provide a continuous police presence/enforcement in the immediate vicinity of the OPS and temporary shelter, until the crime and social disorder impacts associated with these provincial services are better mitigated for the safety and security of our public;
  • substantially increase front-line supports for mental health and addictions within our community/region to better address the root causes leading to drug and alcohol addictions.

These decisions stem from a Notice of Motion put forward by Councillor Higham on December 18, 2023. After being read into the record on January 22, 2024, a non-statutory public hearing was scheduled for yesterday, February 15, 2024. Approximately 40 members of the public attended the non-statutory public hearing, with approximately 30 individuals speaking to the Notice of Motion, sharing their thoughts on the issue.

After hearing from the public yesterday, City Council debated the motion today, with Mayor Ken Johnston now having City Council direction to take the issue forward to the province and proceed with advocacy efforts.

“The public hearing and the debate of this motion were harrowing and emotional experiences for everyone. Each of us have been touched in some way by addiction; we heard that very clearly, and I am no exception. We heard heartfelt testimony from many members of our community, citizens, some who use the OPS, some who are service providers in the community, business owners, doctors, family members that have lost loves ones, and more,” said Mayor Johnston. “Council approached this most sensitive of issues with open minds, open ears, and open hearts. We are trying to improve lives for those suffering from addiction. This is a complex challenge, as these are areas where municipalities do not have jurisdiction. What we know is that Red Deer needs robust support from the provincial government for people with addictions; we need support for our community that is grappling with the fallout of addictions; and we need that support in the most immediate way.”

Mayor Johnston added, “Following this meeting, I will reach out to the Ministry of Addictions and Mental Health to book meetings where we can discuss how to move forward in the best interest of our city.”

Currently the OPS is located 5246 53 Avenue in downtown Red Deer.

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